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News » Jennings sees his season shaping up Bucks rookie in town early to work out

Jennings sees his season shaping up Bucks rookie in town early to work out

Jennings sees his season shaping up  Bucks rookie in town early to work out

St. Francis - Brandon Jennings wants to be in tip-top shape when training camp rolls around about one month from now on Sept. 29.

And the Milwaukee Bucks' rookie admits he is looking forward to another date on the calendar - Oct. 30. That will be the night of his official National Basketball Association debut, when the Bucks play at Philadelphia in the regular-season opener.

So he's already toiling daily at the Bucks' training facility, spending plenty of time on the court and in the weight room.

"The organization felt it was good for me to come here early and start working," Jennings said Thursday. "As I get older, I will get stronger. I just want to get my legs going and get my conditioning up, so when the first day of training camp comes, I'll be ready."

Jennings got a sneak peek of the Bucks' big plans for him when he played 32.4 minutes a game during the team's summer league stay in Las Vegas in mid-July.

It was a bit of a shock for the 19-year-old, who had grown accustomed to limited minutes when he played professionally with Lottomatica Virtus Roma in Italy last season.

"The main thing was playing minutes and getting comfortable," Jennings said. "The first day was tough. I was real anxious; I was all hyped and everything.

"Once I ran down the court two times, I was huffing and puffing. I was too tired to even do anything. But as the week went on, I think I played pretty good."

The Bucks are counting on Jennings to be their catalyst on the floor, with help from veteran point guard Luke Ridnour and newly acquired Roko Ukic, who played with Toronto last season.

"The fact he's in here working is most important," Bucks general manager John Hammond said of Jennings, the 10th-overall pick in the June draft. "If a guy like that weren't in here, then you would be concerned.

"It's easy to talk the talk. What he's doing right now is talking the talk and walking the walk. "

Jennings liked what he saw as the Bucks went 4-1 in summer league play. And he's anxious to see how he fits in with veterans Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd, both returning from injury, and forwards Hakim Warrick and Carlos Delfino, obtained in trades this summer.

"We picked up Hakim Warrick, and he's a big that can run the floor; he's a guy I can throw lobs to, along with Bogut," Jennings said. "We'll have some good bigs. And if Mike Redd stays healthy, everybody knows what he can do. He can get 20 a night, easy."

Ridnour is coming off an injury-plagued season, although he played through numerous hurts and appeared in 72 games, including 50 as a starter. He averaged 9.6 points and 5.1 assists in his first season in Milwaukee, following five years in Seattle.

"We need three point guards; there's 82 games," Jennings said. "I'm not going to be able to play 30 minutes every night or something like that."

The Bucks' guard rotation still contains a bit of mystery because of the uncertain status of restricted free agent Ramon Sessions. The New York Knicks are interested in Sessions but want to preserve cap space for the summer of 2010, and he remains without a contract offer.

Sessions could take the Bucks' $1 million qualifying offer but would be part of a crowded four-man group and would still have restricted status next summer.

"Nothing has changed from our standpoint," Hammond said. "It's still wait-and-see, to see what direction things go for Ramon.

"We have been in communication with (agent) Chubby Wells, and he's been very professional throughout the process. It's his timetable."

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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Added: August 29, 2009


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